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  • Author: Matias Spektor
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Brazilian attitudes toward national sovereignty and non-intervention are in a state of flux. Leaders in Brasília are seeking to actively take part in the current global rethink about the future of humanitarian intervention, and are increasingly willing to deploy men in uniform to distant lands when the lives of civilians are at stake. The change is significant because Brazil has historically championed national sovereignty. Many in Washington DC and in European capitals, however, view this as problematic. The skeptics dismiss Brazil's newly professed commitment to humanitarian intervention as an effort to complicate the ability of the United States and its allies to intervene worldwide on behalf of democracy and human rights. As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in reaction to the attitudes of Brazil and other developing countries to policy toward Libya, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, and Syria: “Let me just say, we've learned a lot and, frankly, not all of it encouraging.”
  • Topic: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Washington, Syria
  • Author: Michael Shifter
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: At first glance, perhaps the most notable feature of Plan Colombia has been its longevity. Given the current divisiveness in Washington, the bipartisan support it has received across three administrations now seems remarkable. After 12 years, the plan is gradually winding down, but the U.S. allocated more than $300 million under the program in 2012 alone. Although the Plan has evolved considerably since it was approved by the U.S. Congress in July 2000, it has become shorthand for wide-ranging U.S. cooperation with Colombia to assist that country in combating drugs, guerrilla violence, and related institutional and social problems. All told, the U.S. has spent nearly $8 billion on the initiative—more than anywhere outside of the Middle East, and Iraq and Afghanistan since the end of the Cold War. Although the effort gave priority to counter-narcotics operations—and specifically the eradication of coca in southern Colombia—from the outset it also encompassed assistance for the judiciary and economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Luis Cubeddu, Camilo Tovar, Evridiki Tsounta
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Since 2003, mortgage credit in Latin America has expanded at an annual rate of 14 percent (adjusted for inflation)—well above rates observed in emerging Asia but below the exorbitant rates seen in emerging Europe before its housing bust. The region's credit expansion has been accompanied by burgeoning real estate prices and construction activity—now representing more than 6 percent of GDP, higher than in emerging Asia or Europe. Mortgage growth has been particularly strong in Brazil, where the five-fold increase in mortgage credit since 2007 has been accompanied by a near tripling of house prices in the main metropolitan areas.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Andrea Baranenko, Venezuela Latin America is moving forward, but Venezuela is moving in the opposite direction,” says Andrea Baranenko, a 28-year-old Venezuelan filmmaker whose recent documentary, Yo Indocumentada (I, Undocumented), exposes the struggles of transgender people in her native country. The film, Baranenko's first feature-length production, tells the story of three Venezuelan women fighting for their right to have an identity. Tamara Adrián, 58, is a lawyer; Desirée Pérez, 46, is a hairdresser; and Victoria González, 27, has been a visual arts student since 2009. These women share more than their nationality: they all carry IDs with masculine names that don't correspond to their actual identities. They're transgender women, who long ago assumed their gender and now defend it in a homophobic and transphobic society.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Reform
  • Political Geography: America, Venezuela, Guatemala
  • Author: Tanya K. Hernandez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Americas present many contrasting approaches to affirmative action. In the United States, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its constitutionality, while at the same time narrowing the ability to use race in the Fisher v. Texas case. In contrast, several Latin American countries are beginning to explore more dynamic affirmative action policies. While many of these policies are recent and still developing, the new Latin American interest in affirmative action programs indicates how useful such programs can be in pursuing racial justice. In fact, Latin America has in some ways gone much further in broadly embracing affirmative action as a human right-a key, perhaps, to the growing support for the concept.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Business Innovator: Felipe Arango, Colombia The Chocó region in western Colombia is one of the most mineral-rich places in the hemisphere. It is also ecologically rich, boasting species of flora thought to be unique to Chocó. But due to years of commercial gold and platinum mining that have leached mercury and cyanide into local rivers, the Chocó region has also become one of the most threatened natural areas in the world. Felipe Arango has been working to change that. Arango, 34, is CEO of Oro Verde—an NGO based in Medellín, Colombia, that empowers local miners to use more ecologically friendly artisanal mining techniques. Founded in 2003, the organization purchases gold produced by certified artisanal miners, many of them Afro-Colombian, and sells it to socially conscious jewelers around the world. Oro Verde takes a 2 percent cut to fund its operations and administration, and contributes its profits and reinvested premiums to the protection of 11,120 acres (4,500 hectares) of tropical rainforest. Oro Verde's gold certification process, meanwhile, has influenced the development of a global “fair-trade, fair-mined” gold certification process.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: New York, Colombia
  • Author: Santiago A. Canton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Inter-American System enshrined the right to freedom of thought and expression in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In 1998, to further protect this right, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission) established the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. I served as the first head of the office.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Paloma Muñoz Quick
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: While numerous United Nations mechanisms have addressed the impact of business activities on Indigenous rights, it was only in 2011—with the UN Human Rights Council's unanimous endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights—that the role of businesses in respecting, or abusing, these rights was officially acknowledged.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Paloma Muñoz Quick
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: While numerous United Nations mechanisms have addressed the impact of business activities on Indigenous rights, it was only in 2011—with the UN Human Rights Council's unanimous endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights—that the role of businesses in respecting, or abusing, these rights was officially acknowledged.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Island
  • Author: Janie Hulse
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: South America
  • Author: Gaston Chillier, Ernesto Seman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Most Latin American countries have regarded immigration policy as a function of border protection, using approaches that emphasize security and law enforcement, including strict regulation of work and residency permits. Nevertheless, such policies have not only failed in recent years to curb the growth of undocumented migrants; they have also clashed with resolutions adopted in 2003 and 2008 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that guarantee migrant rights. Argentina is a notable exception. Thanks to a law passed in 2004, it has emerged as a model for innovative immigration policymaking. The law incorporated the recognition of migration as a human right. But what really made it historic was the open, consultative process used to conceive, develop and pass the legislation. How Argentina got there is an instructive story—and it may hold lessons for its neighbors and for other areas of the world. A Country of Immigrants Struggles with Its Limits As a country known both as a source and a destination for immigrants, Argentina has always carved out a special place for itself in Latin America. In the nineteenth century, it forged a national identity through an open-door immigration policy that was geared selectively toward European immigrants. But migration from neighboring countries such as Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay increased steadily to the point that—by the 1960s—the number of immigrants from its neighbors outpaced arrivals from Europe. In response, Argentina imposed stricter controls on the entry and exit of foreigners, beginning with legislation introduced in 1966. The legislation established new measures for deporting undocumented immigrants. In 1981, under the military dictatorship, legislative decrees that allowed the state to expel migrants were codified into law for the first time as Law 22.439, also known as La Ley Videla (named after the military dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who was later convicted of human rights violations). The law contained several provisions that affected constitutional guarantees, including the right of authorities to detain and expel foreigners without judicial redress; the obligation of public officials to report the presence of unauthorized immigrants; and restrictions on their health care and education. For example, undocumented immigrants could receive emergency health care, but hospitals were then obligated to report them. The resolutions and decrees of the National Migration Office—first established in 1949—turned the office into a vehicle for the violation of migrant rights and precluded it from regulating immigration and addressing immigrants' status. From the downfall of the military dictatorship in 1983 until 2003, congress failed to repeal La Ley Videla or enact an immigration law in accordance with the constitution and international human rights treaties recognizing migrant rights. In fact, the executive branch expanded the law's discriminatory features and promoted the autonomy of the National Migration Office to establish criteria for admission and expulsion from the country without any legal oversight. The continuation of La Ley Videla relegated close to 800,000 immigrants—most of whom came from neighboring countries—to “irregular” status, with serious sociopolitical consequences. Efforts to rectify the situation at first met little success. In the absence of reform, Argentine immigration policy was based on individual agreements with countries like Bolivia and Peru to regulate immigrant flows. These agreements failed to address the larger realities of immigrant flows and Argentine authorities often expelled immigrants despite the treaties. As a result, courts repeatedly upheld detentions and expulsions sanctioned by the immigration authorities, with no formal mechanisms to ensure justice for immigrants. In turn, the high cost of filing or pursuing an appeal generally made this an unlikely option. In 1996, this unjust and unsustainable situation led to the creation of the Roundtable of Civil Society Organizations for the Defense of Migrant Rights, a diverse coalition of human rights groups. The roundtable sought to counter xenophobic rhetoric from state ministries and from the president. It worked for migrant rights and included a diverse coalition of immigrant associations, religious groups, unions, and academic institutions. A key goal was to expose the contradictions and inconsistencies of La Ley Videla by sponsoring reports on human rights abuses of migrants, bringing cases to court and submitting complaints to the Inter-American Human Rights System. In 2000, the organization outlined a specific agenda to repeal La Ley Videla and to pass a new immigration law that respected the rights of foreigners. Criteria for the new legislation included: administrative and judicial control over the National Migration Office; reform of deportation and detention procedures to guarantee due process; recognition of the rights of migrants and their families to normalize their immigration status; and elimination of discrimination and other forms of restrictive control in order to ensure access to constitutionally guaranteed social rights and services…
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Immigration
  • Political Geography: America, Argentina, Latin America, Chile, Bolivia
  • Author: Luis Moreno Ocampo, Susan Segal, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Carlos Chamorro, Enrique Krauze, Alma Guillermoprieto, Dolores Huerta
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Reflections on a changing hemisphere.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Latin America
  • Author: Anthony DePalma
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Brazil